Over the last 15 years, the internet has fundamentally changed the way we shop for homes. 51% of today’s buyers find the home they end up purchasing online, compared to 30% who find their house through an agent, and 7% by seeing an old-fashioned yard sign.
And house hunters aren’t the only ones to reap the benefits. The 5.5 million people who sell their home in a year now have more ways than ever to market their property on the web.
“Once a listing goes live in the MLS (multiple listing service), it actually data-feeds out to over 900 websites,” says top-selling Phoenix, Arizona, agent Kim Panozzo, who’s sold over 76% more properties at a 60% faster pace than the average agent in her region.
What’s more, modern home sellers can find out what their home is worth, look up the sale prices of homes in their area, read up on real estate market trends, and connect with top professionals in the field at the click of a button.
It’s hard to stay current on all the opportunities out there to harness the power of the web, so we’ve rounded up this list of the best real estate websites for sellers with pro tips on how to leverage their sophisticated tools and resources.
Zillow is the most popular real estate website on the internet with 36 million unique monthly visitors as of May 2018. The online real estate behemoth collects property data from agents, brokers, third party feed providers, and multiple listing services across the country to provide a one-stop shop for browsing real estate listings in any given market. If you’re listing isn’t on Zillow, you’ve got a problem.
Why we picked Zillow:
Zillow’s Zestimate tool, an automated valuation model (AVM), has created transparency around and instant access to something consumers will always be curious about: home values. The AVM takes real estate market data and property details such as your home’s square footage, location, number of beds and baths, and more, then runs all the information through an algorithm to give you a ballpark figure for what your home is worth. Zillow notes that because the Zestimate is created with public and user-submitted data, it is a starting point (not an end game) in determining a home’s value.
How to use Zillow:
Your agent should be using Zillow to optimize your property listing. When optimizing a listing, be sure your description of the property includes features that your target buyer would be looking for. Whether that be proximity to a school system or accessibility to public transportation, you want to use your description as an outlet to speak directly to your desired buyer pool. Zillow even allows buyers to filter for listings by certain keywords under the “more” tab of its search results, so make sure your home’s highlights are searchable.
Tips to get the best listing on Zillow:
Talk to your agent about posting a teaser for your property before it hits the market with Zillow’s “Coming Soon” listing tool. This can help gauge buyer interest in your house and start lining up offers right away. However, note that some state real estate commissions have put rules around nefarious “Coming Soon” listing practices, so in certain markets there are boundaries around this type of advertising.
Drawbacks for using Zillow:
While the Zestimate tool can be effective (and fun to check obsessively!), many users question the accuracy of it. According to Zillow the Zestimate has a median error rate of 5%, and you want your asking price to be spot on.
The Zestimate tool also can’t take the design of the home and emotional connection a buyer might have into account. It’s been found that homebuyers are psychologically driven to features like a longer driveway or a bigger backyard—can an algorithm account for that?
Realtor.com is the fourth most-popular real estate website with 18 million monthly unique visitors as of May 2018. The site offers comprehensive information on properties for sale as well as tools and professional expertise to help people navigate through the ebbs and flows of the real estate market and the process of buying and selling a home.
Why we picked Realtor:
Realtor provides expert insights on the industry that agents can use to stay current on the latest market research. Your agent can check out the latest trends in real estate, pull reports on affordability distribution, keep up to speed on buyer generational trends, and gauge the temperature of their market. The site also says it has 99% of all MLS-listed properties in the U.S., with 90% of its listings updated every 15 minutes. If you’re selling your home, you want your listing to appear on Realtor.
How to use Realtor:
Realtor’s “Sell” tab is a particularly robust feature for people looking to sell their home. Users that type in their address will be led to a page offering trends for their local real estate market, including a graph of the median home price and median days on market over the past two years, and a list of comparable homes in the area.
Tips to get the best listing on Realtor:
Realtor’s search filters are extensive, allowing buyers to refine their results based on the types of rooms and features they seek (dining room, fireplace, or hardwood floors), outside features like a spa or pool, waterfront views, positioning on a golf course lot, security features, parking, and more. Be sure your listing is set to show up in all of the relevant searches by checking all the right boxes for your property.
Drawbacks for using Realtor:
While Realtor offers a wealth of property data and real estate market analysis, it’s difficult to narrow down and select a real estate agent on Realtor.
Without a referral or specific agent in mind, Realtor only takes a seller’s location into account and curates a lengthy list of real estate agents. Few reviews or recommendations are left on agent pages, making it challenging to narrow down the list and find the best ones.
HomeLight is a leading marketplace for finding real estate agents, based on objective performance data. By using our database with over 29 million real estate transactions and client reviews, we can objectively match you with the top real estate agents in your area.
Here’s what you should know about HomeLight.
Why we picked HomeLight:
It’s hard to find a good real estate agent these days and we built HomeLight to make it extremely simple. We’re a customer-centric platform that allows buyers and sellers to find the top real estate agent that will best serve them.
Our unique database offers insight into real estate agents that other companies can’t replicate. There’s no mucking about in huge lists of average real estate agents—we match you with a top agent nearby in just a few minutes.
How to use HomeLight:
HomeLight is easy to use for those searching for a real estate agent to sell their home. Once you’re ready to find a real estate agent, you’ll be asked to enter your area, select what kind of home you’re living in, input how much your home is worth, and provide a timeframe for the process.
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Using this information, HomeLight will populate a list of the best real estate agents, catered to your needs. After you’ve selected a real estate agent, you should start using the HomeLight blog to pick up the latest best practices for how to sell your home, insights on market trends, and other real estate stories that can help you navigate through the industry.
Tips when finding an agent on HomeLight:
HomeLight uses relevance analysis ranking and real performance ratings to narrow down a list to match sellers with the right real estate agent for them, so it’s important to provide detailed information when listing out your needs. Before starting the process, be sure to read through the blog to get the latest industry insights.
Drawbacks for using HomeLight:
We don’t list properties on our website but we do partner with the best real estate agents across the country who have exclusive access to MLS databases that you can take advantage of.
Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that helps people buy and sell homes online while also connecting buyers and sellers to Redfin real estate agents in their area.
Why we picked Redfin:
Redfin is known for its five-star, user-friendly home search mobile app. Within it, you can share your favorite homes and private comments with your co-buyer and real estate agent, see nearby schools and businesses on an easy-to-read map, and get quick notifications about new homes coming onto the market. Additionally, when you sell with Redfin, you’re only charged a 1%-1.5% listing fee, compared to the average 2.5%-3% listing fee.
How to use Redfin:
Home sellers in select markets can take advantage of Redfin’s simple estimated home sale proceeds calculator to find out how much they’ll make from selling their house (though it is not meant to replace a professional estimate).
Tips to get the best listing on Redfin:
Take advantage of Redfin’s 3D walkthrough feature, a rendering of your house that provides a “high-resolution, interactive view from every angle inside a home” to pique buyers’ interest about your property online.
Drawback for using Redfin:
Redfin’s real estate agent locator only pulls up professionals based on your ZIP code, and provides basic information about each agent. While there are customer reviews, it’s more difficult to select one that best fits your needs as a seller.
Founded in 1993, RealtyTrac is a real estate resource and marketplace focused on helping buyers find foreclosed and defaulted properties. The site provides a variety of foreclosure listings including pre-foreclosures, auctions, bank-owned properties as well as current for-sale and recently sold properties.
Why we picked RealtyTrac:
The landscape of RealtyTrac is unique to the industry because it showcases over 120 million foreclosed homes, homes for sale, and off-market property reports.
How to use RealtyTrac:
While this website appears to be beneficial to buyers who are interested in foreclosures, agents can use RealtyTrac to access a wealth of information about the foreclosure process and research the county’s market trends to make informed decisions about how to price your home strategically.
Tips to get the best listing on RealtyTrac:
RealtyTrac lists for-sale properties and includes information on the surrounding area schools, crime statistics, environmental features, and other factors that buyers take particular interest in. As a seller, make sure your real estate agent includes all of this information in your listing for maximum search visibility.
Drawbacks of RealtyTrac:
Because RealtyTrac focuses on foreclosures, buyers are wary of scams on this website. If your real estate agent lists your home on RealtyTrac, be sure he or she includes an abundant amount of pictures and detail, so buyers don’t think your listing is a phishing ploy.
Trulia comes in second for web traffic with 23 million unique monthly users. By sourcing local insights, Trulia offers over 34 neighborhood map overlays to show information about commutes, crimes, schools, and businesses in your area, giving movers a deeper understanding of what it’s like to live somewhere.
Why we picked Trulia:
Trulia is committed to providing information that expands beyond a basic listing and values information on the entire community. They also have a customer-centric blog that provides helpful information and focuses on specific metropolitans all around the country. Additionally, with an agent’s help you can get your listing live on Trulia in 15 minutes.
How to use Trulia:
Your real estate professional can submit property listings, access the multiple listing service database, and compare home prices in a specific neighborhood. Property listings include unique information like the neighborhood demographics, schools in the area, the neighborhood’s proximity to restaurants, a walkability score, crime maps, and more. To take advantage of this, start to do your research to understand you current neighborhood appeals and turn them into specific selling points in your property listing.
Tips to get the best listing on Trulia:
To post your property listing on Trulia, your agent will submit your listing for sale, which will redirect you to Zillow, Trulia’s partner website. Be sure your agent includes as much detail as possible when filling out information about your home. Since Trulia highlights neighborhood features, make sure you explicitly talk about enticing qualities of your neighborhood. While you can update your listing at your convenience, your initial visibility is the most important, so don’t let your real estate agent submit without photos. For-sale listings without pictures often get overlooked, and you could miss a valuable opportunity early on. You’re able to save drafts of your listing before officially submitting it as well.
Drawbacks of Trulia:
Trulia doesn’t provide a real estate agent network for sellers to utilize during the home sale process. That makes it hard to find a real estate agent who fits your specific selling needs based on location, price, and past performance.
Movoto is the second largest online real estate brokerage in the U.S. and the only one licensed in all 50 states. The company helps customers across the country buy and sell homes, find Realtors, and access resources that can simplify the home process. The information below can help a seller navigate through Movoto.
Why we picked Movoto:
The real estate brokerage website receives a lot of foot traffic, making it a good outlet to increase visibility for your property listing. Just last year, Movoto powered 175 million home searches and over 137 million homes were viewed.
How to use Movoto:
Movoto helps sellers transact with real estate agents dedicated to selling your home for the highest price, in the least amount of time. The advanced pricing tool allows sellers and agents to price your property in under 5 minutes. The Movoto database will allow you and your agent to discover market trends and make informed decisions before your house hits the market.
Tips to get the best listing on Movoto:
When selling a home on Movoto, there are a few things your agent can do to optimize your listing. Before you submit, be sure your real estate agent is using their guides, which provide detailed information on specific neighborhoods and metropolitans. Neighborhood guides focusing on your area can help you decide on key features to highlight in your listing. It’s also important to be visible on the site in multiple locations. If you update or reduce the price for your property listing, be sure to talk to your real estate agent about being listed on these subsections of the website, aside from the for-sale tab.
Drawbacks of Movoto:
While there are a few advanced features to search for a real estate agent, Movoto doesn’t provide the previous sales of agents who are listed. When you’re searching for a real estate agent, it’s important to consider their previous sales history to confirm the agent’s home selling specialties are in line with your goals. A real estate agent might have renowned reviews for selling condominiums but that might not translate if you’re selling a single-family home.
Craigslist is a classified advertising website with a devoted housing section. Don’t be fooled by the site’s plain and rudimentary design, which still looks like it came straight out of 1995 (when it first launched).
Why we picked Craigslist:
While Craigslist is unconventional, it’s a great way for your real estate agent to test out the current market. Anyone can post on Craigslist. So the bottom line is that it’s one more way to increase your home’s visibility on the web.
How to use Craigslist:
Creating a property listing is simple. Once in the housing section, you can post a listing in a matter of minutes. While you can update the listing whenever necessary, be sure to finish your content and post high quality pictures when initially listing your home. You can also use Craigslist as a research tool to look at other home prices.
Tips to get the best listing on Craigslist.
There are a few essential things your agent can do when posting a home on Craigslist. When a buyer first clicks on your ad, he or she will see a snippet of a home listing includes the title, price, and pictures. Therefore, it’s important to highlight key features in your title and post professional photos to highlight your home. Once a buyer clicks on your listing, you will want to provide them with as much detail including home features, design features, neighborhood amenities, proximity to public transportation, and information on the schooling system.
Drawbacks of Craigslist:
Because Craiglist doesn’t have strong security to restrict scammers, many buyers are weary of listings and usually don’t use Craigslist as a sole search platform. Craigslist can be a great starting point to test out the market on your own, but shouldn’t be your main marketing platform.
9. U.S. News Real Estate by U.S. News and World Report
U.S. News Real Estate offers a wealth of interesting information about what it’s like to live in different places around the U.S. and offers up expert real estate advice for home buyers and sellers.
Why we picked U.S. News Real Estate:
U.S. News Real Estate analyzes 125 of the most popular metro areas of the U.S. and has detailed pages for what it’s like to live in each city. Curious about the annual salary in Philadelphia? What about the weather in Albuquerque? You can find it all on U.S. News along with written commentary from a local expert. Plus, you can also find a top real estate agent in your area with the U.S. News agent recommendation tool powered by HomeLight.
How to use U.S. News Real Estate:
Browse the U.S. News Real Estate blog for tips like how to handle the home inspection, home prep tips, and the best time of year to tackle different home improvement projects. You can also check out the “Best Places to Live” tab for city rankings and fun lists like the top cities to retire or the most affordable places to live.
Tips to find an agent on U.S. News Real Estate
Start your search for a top real estate agent in your area on the U.S. News “Find an Agent” page. Select your state and city and you’ll be directed to a page featuring a local real estate market snapshot and information like the average real estate commission in your area. Then simply click on the red “Find Your Top Agent” button, answer some questions about whether you’re looking to buy or sell, your home’s worth, your selling timeline, and your property address, and you’ll receive your agent matches in moments.
Drawbacks of U.S. News Real Estate:
The site is a great place to find local real estate market insights, expert insights on buying and selling your home, and to connect with local real estate agents in your area. However, note that it’s not a real estate listings website so you can’t put your property details on there.